Randomness in February

I took the kids out for ice cream at BK.  I honestly don't remember why.  But we had a blast hanging out together.  I love special outings with these two!
Our organization had a country-wide retreat this month.  We took a train an hour out of Vienna to the town of Puchberg am Schneeberg.  It was fun to be in the countryside.  The three-day conference was a bit hectic, especially having the kids with us.  Nathanael loved playing with his friends and riding the train, and we discovered that he's totally ready for little Legos now.  (The care-takers brought along a bunch, and that's all he wanted to do the entire time there!)  Eva pretty much stayed with us the entire time.  Lots of cuddles.
A short train trip with these three wonderful people

And finally, to solidify the randomness of this post, here are a few photos of my littles playing inside on the cold winter days.
One of her absolutely favorite books (to look at and eat)
a typical Eva look
I love this kid's creativity!


Dear Evangeline (8 months)

Our dearest Eva-doll,

Happy eight months!  Oh what joy and delight you bring to our family.  We thank God for you each and every day, sweetheart.  You are beautifully and wonderfully made, and we love you dearly.

Daddy frequently comments, "What a gem!"  And it is true, dearest.  You are a treasure.  We love your sweet personality and gentle temperament, your sparkling smiles and dainty giggles.  When we pick you up and you hold onto us so tightly, we almost never want to put you down.  What a sweetheart you are!  Even your brother will hold still for a few minutes in order to hold you or sit with you or allow you to explore his face with your hands!

Your height/length hasn't changed much this month, still measuring around 69cm (27.25in, 55th percentile), but you've gained quite a bit of healthy weight, now weighing 8.6kg (almost 19 pounds, 70th percentile)!  You are still taking (and needing) three naps a day.  You sleep amazing well at night, and you have been waking up happy for most of the month, despite continuous colds!  You prefer to sit now and often protest when we lay you on your back.  That said, you wiggle around so much that you often end up on your back, and then you don't seem to mind it.  You still show almost no interest in turning over, though you can do it.  You've lunged forward a few times when you've been on your tummy, and you love to move and exercise your legs.  You have wonder-arms and can stretch and reach things I am convinced are out of your reach!

You love toys that rattle when you shake them, and we often find you holding two toys, hitting them together to make noise.  You adore book time, and you're turning pages on your own now.  You are developing so quickly in communicating.  You respond to our waving by waving back (with a huge smile) and have even begun initiating "hello" waves.  You have signed "more" a few times when eating.  You are familiar with games we frequently play with you, and you express your pleasure with smiles and giggles.  You love sitting across from your brother at the dinner table.  You watch him and smile at him and delight in him when he looks at you and is silly with you.  You love to talk to him and try to imitate his silly sounds.

You can successfully eat a few Cheerios, though it takes quite a bit of effort.  You are able to drink water from a sippy cup, but you still refuse to take milk from a bottle or sippy cup.  You've begun to eat yoghurt and love it.  And you've also ventured a bit into bread, and you seem fascinated.

You remain an incredibly easy-going, flexible, transportable baby.  And it seems to be a bit of your personality combined with being a second child.  We are thankful that we can take you with us on outings and visits and appointments, and you provide us so much joy!

We love you, dear Eva Elif!  Happy eight-month birthday!

your daddy and mommy

Evangeline Elif - 8 month old
 And a few more...

 She's usually either talking or has a toy in her mouth.
 She spotted a toy on the floor that she wanted, and I almost expect her arms to reach it! ;)


Perde Pilavi - Happy Birthday to me!

This year, I decided to go all out and make one of my absolute all-time favorite dishes for my own birthday.  (And I bought a frozen cake at the store.) It was a ton of work and a bit nerve-racking, not knowing if it would turn out.  Here is the finished product:  Perde Pilavi!
It's a breaded chicken and rice dish with various seasons and nuts and such.  Oh is it delicious!  I think it's a traditional Turkish wedding dish, with each item signifying different blessings, such as health and children, etc.  I made pea soup to go with it.
Here was one of my "helpers" in the preparations.
 And the other.
And my sweet family gifted me with flowers, a book I've been wanting, and some marvelous Ameretto.  I feel loved.


It's time for Fasching (Carnival)!

This year, the Kindergarten decided to have a costume party for families.  What a crazy idea.  I cannot adequately describe the chaos and noise and confusion that occurred at this party.  It was quite impressive how much they did and how much fun many of the kids had, but Nathanael was not counted among that number.  He was overwhelmed and shy and grouchy and borderline scared the entire night, minus about 20 seconds of one song when he couldn't resist and had to join in on the actions.  The highlight of the evening for me was on the way home at 6:30, after we'd been at the party trying to get Nathanael involved for two hours, and we dashed out immediately after they finished the organized portion and opened the buffet.  Nathanael had a Krapfen in his hand (apricot jelly-filled donut of sorts often given out at Fasching/Carnival) as we walked home, and he was a wreck.  He wouldn't stop crying and whining, and I had had enough.  I took the remaining Krapfen from his hand and chucked it under a car.  Not my most glorious parenting moment.  But I will never forget it (especially now since I've blogged it).

Nevertheless, we have some fun pictures. :)  And I as a good mom actually did have some fun at the party, despite my son's attitude, as I tried to show him how much fun it was.  Haha!  And I do not blame Nathanael for his difficult evening.  He really does not do well in new situations in which there is a lot of noise and activity.  (God help us when we're in the States for five months of chaotic living in 2016!)  If we'd known it would be as it was, we would not have gone.

My little dragon, being cute at home before we left
This is Nathanael, an adorable blur of motion and laughter.
I love this boy to pieces!
Gregory and I were scuba-divers.  Eva wore an octopus hat that we had from Nathanael's baby shower in Boston.
For cheap, home-made costumes, we did well.  And we were quite the hit.  Interestingly, lots of parents have stopped me since the party and commented on the creative costumes. :)
Dancing at the party
This is where he stayed almost the entire two hours.
Marie, one of our favorite little girls at his Kindergarten
(We affectionately called her chicken-pot-pie for the longest time.  Why?  Let's just say,  Nathanael likes to be silly.)
Someone was happy to be there.
The chaos was ramping up after over an hour of dancing and lots of hungry kids.
And here is Nathanael's Kindergarten craft for Fasching - a clown.  So cute.
Oh how I hope they do something different for next year!